Posts tagged ‘believe’

January 7, 2013

Did God Really Say…?

by pastortimfowler

Blog

Today I was reading Genesis chapter 3 and this is where Adam and Eve were tempted and gave in to temptation. It is the fall of mankind from a life of eternal fellowship with God to one of separation from God and the beginning of humanity’s struggle to accept God’s word for what God intends it to be and what we want it to be. Genesis 3:1The snake was more clever than all the wild animals the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must never eat the fruit of any tree in the garden‘?”
The argument of what God really says or really means is as old as mankind. Because we were given free will, we are unlike any other creature that God put on this earth. We have the choice obeying or disobeying. We can choose to believe in God or not. He will never force us to believe. God wants us to believe that He is our creator and that we are precious to Him and that He loves us. He wants us to love Him and love can never before forced. Free will is our blessing and our curse all rolled into one. It is what allows us to choose to believe in this loving God and accept His provision for forgiveness or chose to believe that we can do it ourselves.
Satan, in whom I also believe in, is a master of deception and a master of twisting God’s words. That is how he works and how he got Adam and Eve to fall into sin. It is because Satan knows that we are prideful and pride causes us to think that no one can do it better than we can. No one can love me like I love me. But this is not true. No one knows me better or loves me better than God, our Creator. But Satan twisted that truth and had Eve questioning the truth of God’s word with a little jealousy to stir the pot. Between our pride, jealousy, and nowadays our lack of reading the Bible completely to know the truth, Satan finds it really easy to get us to ask, what did God really say?
Satan told Eve that God just didn’t want us to have this great knowledge of right and wrong and if we did obtain it, God would be jealous that we would know what He knows and that we would be like God. And, like most kids who are far smarter than their parents, she believed that.
Christians are quick to accept the forgiveness and the gift of eternal life, but then we find loopholes and cause for doubt when we read or hear that the Bible tells us not to do or to do things that we don’t feel good about. Feelings, unfortunately will cost many Christian to miss out on many blessings. These same feelings will cause many who are not Christians to miss out on forgiveness and all the time blame God for sending them to Hell.
God does not send people to Hell no more than people get themselves into Heaven. God simply tells us the truth and we use our free will to believe God, who made a simple and complete way of forgiveness and eternity in Heaven, or to not trust God because we think we know better. And all along the way, Satan is there to encourage us to not trust God.
Here are a few things that God says and you can decide what to believe:

Romans 3:23Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory.
Sin is anything that you think say or do that goes against God. This means we have all missed the mark. Most of us don’t have a hard time believing that we have sinned. We just have a hard time believing what will happen to us because we have sinned.

Romans 6:23 The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God told Adam and Eve that they would die when they disobeyed Him. This is a spiritual separation and yes, the physical death is part of the curse. We deserve it because God is God and we are not and we were told to obey Him. His rules, not mine or yours. This is not what God wanted nor wants now, so He gave a solution to our sin problem in Jesus Christ. It is a total gift. This to is not open for our ways to override God’s way.

Romans 10:13 So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
You must exercise your free will to call on Him or not. But whoever does, will be saved from their sin problem. Again, simple, singular (in that Jesus is the only way) and our choice. God will not nor can not force us to love Him or accept His love. He wants us to know Him and learn to love Him just as a child learns to love his parents.

Romans 8:1 So those who are believers in Christ Jesus can no longer be condemned.
Just as God took care of Adam and Eve after they disobeyed, He will take care of us. When we trust God’s word for forgiveness, we get God’s word for eternal protection and eternal life. But if we chose not to believe God, then we chose to find out the hard way that God does not lie. And when this life is over, we will all meet Him. Some will meet Him as Savior, some will meet Him as Judge, but all will meet God one day.

Romans 14:11For it is written, “As I live,” says the Lord, “to me every knee shall bow, And to God shall every tongue confess.”
On that day, we will not get the option to ask…Did you (God) really say…?

March 26, 2012

For The Love Of Bacon

by pastortimfowler

Broadbent Bacon line

Romans 14:1-4
1 Welcome people who are weak in faith, but don’t get into an argument over differences of opinion.
2 Some people believe that they can eat all kinds of food. Other people with weak faith believe that they can eat only vegetables.
3 People who eat all foods should not despise people who eat only vegetables. In the same way, the vegetarians should not criticize people who eat all foods, because God has accepted those people.
4 Who are you to criticize someone else’s servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful. The servant will be successful because the Lord makes him successful.
In this particular few verses, we see that Vegans have been causing trouble with meat eaters, at least that is the way I see it. Vegans are a weird bunch of people who just don’t understand how wonderful bacon really is. One of my best friends is a vegan and she will tell you that I am right. Vegans are weird. But I should refrain from making such comments so not to start an argument. Notice that I didn’t say that they are wrong, just weird. Wrong would be forcing my opinion of food on another and these verses say we shouldn’t. Weird says, I can’t believe that you don’t love bacon! Even God changed His mind about eating bacon. In the Old Testament, Leviticus 11:7 , You must never eat pigs. (Because pigs have completely divided hoofs but do not chew their cud, they are also unclean.) he told the Jews not to eat pork, but in the New Testament, Acts 11:8-9 8 “But I answered, ‘I can’t do that, Lord! I’ve never put anything impure or unclean into my mouth.’ 9 “A voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Don’t say that the things which God has made clean are impure.’
He changed His mind and I am pretty sure it was all about bacon. Bacon is heavenly, in my opinion.
By now, Vegans and others who think that I am making light of the Bible in general are mad at me and ready to argue. But I am wise and I hide behind a computer to these controversial things. Sure you can respond and I have the choice of publishing your response or not, but I will not cause a scene in public over this powder keg of Biblical interpretation. I will only remind you of what Paul says in the first verse of this opening scripture and welcome you of weak faith to my world. A world where every meal is wrapped in bacon and every Vegan is weird. But just like the bacon, the Vegan is loved. I love you and God loves you and I believe if it were possible, bacon would love you.
I love what verse one says. Sadly it is ignored by way too many Christians. We just can’t resist a good argument. There is just something fulfilling, in the wrong way, about arguing. Of course I would love to have everyone agree with me on all of my points of view, but that would mean I would have less of a drive to blog as often as I do and you would be less fun to mess with. You, being anyone who does not believe the way I do.
God loves unity, but most people would argue that the church who believes in this God of unity, sure doesn’t love the unity that He does. After all, many wars have fought over religion or something to do with it. On any given day you can start a fight between two people who say they believe in the same Jesus just by asking them to explain the difference in what they believe. I know it sounds like a lot of fun, but us believers we really ought to think twice before we open our mouths sometimes. I have met more people who refuse to believe in the God of the Bible because of Christians than I ever have because of their own research.
I started off poking fun, and yes it was just that, to prove a point. Arguments over such things have been going on for quite a while and to be honest, they are not important in the way that God thinks about us. Humans will never be able to fully understand God’s love and patience with us. But other humans will never understand Christians who set out to do battle with anyone who has an opinion different from theirs. The church, is made up of people from every walk of life and the only constant is a God that we can’t fully understand. He has made it simple to be part of His family, but not exclusive to the interpretation of any one person or group. It all boils down to this. We are sinners, God is not. God loves us, we love self. So God gets to call the shots and is fully capable of straightening out any mess that we make, even when it involves bacon.

February 27, 2012

I Think I Believe

by pastortimfowler

You see the weirdest stuff on Facebook. People who air their dirty laundry, complain about people they never met, and are experts on everything. One of my least favorite things to see on Facebook is conversations about Christianity. It is amazing that the experts on Christianity are usually the ones who don’t believe in God. Those who do believe are so weak in their knowledge of the Bible that they sound quite foolish at times and even go as far as admitting that they don’t really believe what they are hoping to be their eternal destiny. I do consider myself an expert on the Bible and believe that it teaches assurance and simplicity for salvation that we can be absolutely sure of.
I know that last statement will get some feathers ruffled, but I do consider myself an expert on the Bible. I have my Masters in theology and am half way to my Doctorate. I have read the Bible completely more times than I can count and make a living teaching what it says. I take this very seriously, because I believe that there is a God just as much as I believe that 1+1=2. No, I can’t prove that God exists, but no one can prove that He doesn’t. I have the ability to understand that order never comes from chaos and that where there is a creation of any type there must be a creator. I know personally that God changed my life and that the Bible has been true every time that I have tested it. Yes there are things that I can’t explain and don’t fully understand, but that is true with about anything in life.
The question was asked of me about how someone who professes to be a Christian can say that they believe the Bible enough for salvation but at the same time believe that God has made other ways that are not in the Bible to receive this salvation. That is a tough one. I personally believe that many people are not truly trusting God for the understanding of salvation but trusting in human understanding. Proverbs 3:5 Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Humans do not want to believe that they are not the smartest creature in the universe. As a Christian, the thing that we often miss is that God wants us to begin to trust Him and His word and change are hearts and mind. Romans 12:2 Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect. This is hard when we are challenged by those who don’t believe and make it their point to argue what they believe of a non existing God. (I think it is sad to be threatened so much by something that you don’t even believe in.) But for those who say they believe they are Christians, God is the ultimate expert in who He is and what He wants you to know and believe. If He is who He says He is, and you believe that, then we should always try to seek the Godly way in our beliefs.
From the beginning, as the Bible states it, man has doubted God and wanted what we want. It has always led to failure. Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a person, but eventually it ends in death. Religious people have tried to turn what God wants into their gain, whether it was the Pharisees of Jesus’ day or corrupt preachers of today. Those will answer to God for their false teachings. But why do professing believes get thrown off by people who profess not to believe? It is one thing to say, I believe this way but respect your opinion, but never is it okay to go against what God clearly teaches. For instance, Jesus is the only way of salvation. The Bible is very clear about that. Why would a Christian argue against that? It borders on heresy and at best ignorance.
Your eternal life is a dangerous thing to play a game of people pleasing with. If you believe in the God of the Bible, don’t doubt what the Bible says. Faith is believing, not wishful thinking. It is by grace through faith that we are saved. God condemns those who don’t believe. But he made what He wants you to believe simple and direct and easy to obtain.
Proverbs 28:26 Whoever trusts his own heart is a fool. Whoever walks in wisdom will survive. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
I think I believe is a people pleaser’s way of saying I don’t know. Salvation is to know.

August 19, 2011

A Job Well Done

by pastortimfowler

The other day I talked with someone about why they need to stay on their job. It was hard to believe that they were even considering quitting a job in this economy. They wanted to quit because they did not like anything about the job. The people were difficult to work with, the pay was lousy, the job was difficult, and the hours were unpredictable. That has to be tough, but is there a positive twist you can put on it?
First, from the standpoint of the economy, we could all probably give an account of someone we know that does not have a job and can’t find one. Few places are hiring and those who are have so many applicants that they can be very picky over who they hire. Many people are looking for any job, and that means employers can set the highest of standards. Add to that the number of people who are applying for these few jobs and it is tough. Quitting a job now is a recipe for even harder times if you do not have another job to transfer into.
Second, let me share a biblical point of view. This will be fun, so read on.
God gave you that job. Rejoice and be glad in it. He said that He would meet our needs not our wants. Perhaps God wants us to show faithfulness in the small things before He gives us the big things. The workplace today needs to see what a good work ethic is. It would be a great witness, to those who don’t believe, to see a Christian work hard and honor those in authority. People need to hear and see that our actions match up. They need to see that we believe that good things come from God and a job of any type right now is a good thing.
Sometimes we forget that the strongest witness we can give to others is in our workplace. Another time is when we are going through a struggle. Combine the two and there is a real opportunity to let our faith shine. We live in a world that promotes a victim mind-set. People really believe that life should be fair and I have never found that to be true. The only two things that are fair in life is the fact that we all face judgement, the same judgement, for our sins and God through Jesus Christ forgives us, any of us, if we ask. Other than that, fairness is only equal to the opportunity that is in front of us not the results of it. If fairness is what was important, it would only be fair that a blind man could drive a car on our interstates and I could be a brain surgeon even though I know nothing about it. I mean, it just isn’t fair that I don’t get to do what I want, is it?
I believe that God puts us in various situations to see if we remember to honor Him in all things, not just the stuff we think is good. Difficult work means a chance to test our perseverance. Those people who are so hard to work with may need to see Jesus in you. You may be that only example of Jesus that they will see. Low pay means a chance to practice good stewardship and faith that God will provide. Unpredictable hours mean a chance to be ready to share our faith in season and out of season.
Let me leave you with this example of someone who had a tough job, with tough people to work with, unreasonable hours, and their pay sucked. His name is Jesus.
He was hired to work with fishermen and tax collectors. He left Heaven to work on earth during a tougher time that we know now. He was on call 24/7 and never got the pay that He deserved. No matter how hard He tried, people turned on Him and ended up firing Him from His job in a most cruel way. All the time He never quit, never gave up, and never stopped honoring God. In return, many were saved, He is the example for all to follow, and God said, “A job well done!”

April 19, 2011

Treasure hunting

by pastortimfowler

Most of the day today I have been trying to get ready to go on a short vacation with a few friends. We are heading to Venice Beach, Fl. for a dive trip. It is called the shark tooth capital of the world and that is what we are going to look for. Not just regular teeth but rather prehistoric teeth from an extinct species of shark called the Megalodon. Some of the teeth we hope to find are as big as 7 inches long. They say this shark was a big as a Greyhound Bus.
Since I am leaving bright and early in the morning and it is a 10 hour drive, I am not sure if I will blog anymore the rest of the week. I am taking my laptop and hope to squeeze in one but not making any promises. It is supposed to be a vacation of sort but I will be spending some time preparing for Easter services. I rarely take time off before Easter because it is such an important time in the Christian faith, but my good friend an I have been wanting to make this dive for years and this is the first time that it worked out for both of us to go.
Vacation is a time to relax and appreciate God’s creation. I will be doing that. I find very little as relaxing as swimming under the ocean and treasure hunting. These teeth we hope to find are valuable. Some of the bigger ones in good shape can bring hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. To think that something died that long ago and it can still have that much of an effect on me now. Now that is real value.
You know, Jesus died a long time ago, and although I never expect to find His fossilized remains, He still brings value into my life. I find value in the fact that He created such a magnificent planet that I can have such fun and even find remains of creatures that He created that are no longer around. But better than that, I can find forgiveness for everything that I have ever messed up. I can find favor with a holy God that without this forgiveness I would never have. I find peace in troubled times and joy in living my life for Him. These are treasures that have no price tag. They can’t be bought. They are free to anyone who would ask for them.
Everyone has heard that Jesus died on a cross. It is not hard to believe, because everyone knows death is real. Jesus chose to die in my place and yours, because of our sin against God. But He didn’t leave it at that. Jesus did the unthinkable, the impossible, the unimaginable: He resurrected from death. He did this so that all who ask to be forgiven can find this treasure called eternal life. It is a gift. Not earned nor bought, but given upon asking.
There is only one catch. We must ask in belief that God does forgive and Jesus did die for our sin and that He does give life when we ask.
I have never been to Venice beach to look for these shark’s teeth. I have never personally seen someone who has any of these teeth. The reason I am going to look for them is because I believe they are there. The only reason you do anything that has a risk is because you believe the risk is worth it.
Years ago I went looking for forgiveness and found it in Jesus Christ. The risk was worth it. I found something as real as the teeth I hope to find. I found a God who loves me and forgives me and gave me a treasure worth hunting.
This Easter, why not try to find forgiveness, and why not try to find this loving God. He died for your sin too and better yet, He lives to give you a life that never ends.
It is time to go treasure hunting!